State of Israel [ Country-by-Country Reports ]
The State of Israel [map] is a republic located in SW Asia on the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by Lebanon (N), by Syria and Jordan (E), by the Mediterranean Sea (W), by Egypt (SW), and by the Gulf of Aqaba (an arm of the Red Sea) (S). The capital and largest city of Israel is Jerusalem. Israel has a technologically advanced market economy with substantial government participation. It depends on imports of crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment. Despite limited natural resources, Israel has intensively developed its agricultural and industrial sectors over the past 20 years.
Israel is a destination country for low-skilled workers from People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), Romania, Jordan, Turkey, Thailand, the Philippines, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India who migrate voluntarily for contract labor in the construction, agriculture, and health care industries. Some are subsequently subjected to conditions of involuntary servitude, such as withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, threats, and physical intimidation. According to the Government of Israel, women working in the health care field are particularly vulnerable to trafficking for involuntary servitude. Many labor recruitment agencies in source countries and in Israel require workers to pay up-front fees ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 - a practice that may contribute to debt bondage and makes these workers highly vulnerable to forced labor once in Israel. Israel is also a destination country for women trafficked from Eastern Europe - primarily Ukraine, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Belarus and Russia - for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2007 [full country report]
CAUTION: The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Israel. Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false. No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.
Bur of Democracy, Human Rights & Labor - Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2005
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The law guarantees foreign laborers legal status, decent working conditions, health insurance, and a written employment contract; however, some employers forced individual laborers who entered the country, both legally and illegally, to live under conditions that constituted trafficking. While law enforcement agencies have successfully prosecuted employers for labor law violations, including for violations that were tantamount to trafficking, they have not severely penalized labor agencies for trafficking because legislation does not make trafficking illegal if it is for purposes other than prostitution. There were numerous documented cases of foreign laborers living in harsh conditions, subjected to debt bondage, and restricted in their movements.
Organized crime groups trafficked women, primarily from the former Soviet Union, sometimes luring them by offering service sector jobs. Foreign workers came mainly from Southeast Asia, East Asia, Africa, Turkey, Eastern Europe (Romania), and South and Central America. Some traffickers reportedly sold foreign-origin women to brothels, forced them to live in harsh conditions, subjected them to beatings and rape, and forced them to pay for transportation costs and other "debts" through sexual servitude. According to local NGOs, during the year traffickers brought between one thousand and three thousand women into the country for prostitution. The government reported that during the year, 59 trafficked women resided in the "Maggan" Shelter, and an additional 128 trafficking victims stayed in the detention facilities. The government estimated that at least 682 more women met the basic criteria to be classified as cases of trafficking victims even if they did not so admit.
In October, 2 NGOs claimed there were 200 thousand foreign workers in the country and that 20 percent of these workers were trafficking victims. During the year the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor (ITL) revoked 185 permits to hire foreign workers, opened 1,220 files against employers suspected of violating foreign worker employment laws, and imposed 8,356 administrative fines on employers. Also during the year, the ITL filed 208 criminal indictments against employers, including manpower companies, for violations of labor laws and won 38 judgments against violators.
Israel hosts human trafficking seminar
In October, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed a bill banning human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution and forced labor.
“We are talking about an innovative and revolutionary law, which deals harshly with traffickers of people and body parts,” said Zahava Gal-on, member of Knesset. “The law will provide law enforcement officers better tools to combat the phenomenon.”
There are an estimated 3,000 women in Israel, according to Amnesty International, involved in trafficking rings and Israel wants to help these women, many of whom are victims of extreme violence.
Knesset passes human trafficking bill
In a unanimous vote Tuesday night, the Knesset approved a law to strengthen and broaden laws against human trafficking. The bill, which was drafted by MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) and supported by the government, increases the time served for involvement in human trafficking to 16-20 years. It also broadens the definition of trafficking in men, women and children.
Gov't, NGOs still find time to fight against human trafficking
Despite the current war on the home front, government officials and representatives of the US Embassy and the US State Department took time out of their busy schedules last week to discuss practical recommendations for how to address sex trafficking and labor trafficking in the country.
3 arrested on suspicion of human trafficking
Tel Aviv Police succeeded in tracing the steps of the group after spotting a notice published in a Russian language newspaper advertising employment in Canada for "young, beautiful girls."
Israel among worst human traffickers
Tal Eisenberg, the organization's legal advisor and coordinator for the center's Fighting Against Trafficking in Women project told The Jerusalem Post, "It is excellent that the United Nations has recognized that there is such a problem in Israel. I hope that we can learn from the report and that the government will now take more notice of the problem." She said that many countries did not even know that trafficking takes place within their borders and that Israeli rights organizations had made great progress in combating the problem.
But perhaps in honor of International Women's Day, let me introduce the woman you'll have such a good time with tonight. Here's 10 things you never knew about her.
1. Her name is Svetlana. Like most whores, she's from Eastern Europe. She's 22-years-old.
2. Misha, Svetlana's boss, bought her for 5,000 dollars from an Egyptian Mafioso who smuggled her across the border tied to a camel after he and his friends "checked her out" to see if she was worth the effort.
Women leaders gather in Israel to combat crime of trafficking
"The committee set itself a goal to serve as watchdog over the authorities and has compelled the state to act in accordance with international standards," said Gal-On. "Today women are treated as victims of a crime, and as people whose human rights have been breached. Those who traffic and pimp in the bodies of women are treated severely."
´He Was Taking Over My Mind´
"There was always violence, always humiliation" says Miriam [not her real name], who spent 12 years with a Palestinian-Arab, the last four in his village over the Green Line in southern Israel. "First he would hit me with his hands. Then he moved on to using small objects, and finally iron rods and a metal rake. He broke all of my teeth with the rake and then refused to give me any medical attention."
Art exhibit takes behind scenes look at Israeli sex trade
The distressed expression on the face of an anonymous woman peering out from behind a barred window in a Tel Aviv building triggered curator Revital Ben-Asher Peretz to launch her own private investigation behind the scenes of the Israeli sex trade.
With approximately one million visits to prostitutes each month, the Israeli sex "industry" generates an estimated billion dollars a year, Gal-On reveals. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared last month that this "despicable phenomenon completely contradicts Jewish tradition and the values of dignity." Yet, despite repeated criticism by the State Department and human rights organizations, Israel has not established a central authority to cope with the problem.
August 16 Proposed as International Day Against Trafficking
On August 16, it will be five years since two trafficking victims from the former Soviet Union were burned to death in a brothel in Tel Aviv. The tragedy occurred because the women were locked in the house and had no way out, which is common in the trafficking business. There are also three other known cases of deaths of trafficking victims in Israel: one woman from Ukraine and two others from Russia. In memory of the harrowing event that took place on August 16, 2000, the Israeli Coalition Against Trafficking in Women has proposed to proclaim this date as the International Memorial Day for Trafficking Victims.
Briefing to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women - June 2005
TRAFFICKING IN HUMAN BEINGS (ARTICLE 6) - Amnesty International published a report on the trafficking of women into Israel's sex industry in 2000. Trafficking of women for forced prostitution has occurred over a number of years but appears to have been compounded in the past 15 years by several factors, including increased links between traffickers in Israel and former Soviet republics, in the wake of the large wave of immigration of citizens of these countries to Israel, following of the break-up of the Soviet Union. These combined factors seemingly resulted in an increase in the vulnerability of women from this region to trafficking, and in an increase in the demand for such sex workers in Israel.
Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Prostitution: The Israeli Experience [Restricted]
THE CHANGE IN ATTITUDE TOWARD TRAFFICKING - With time, as the phenomenon became more prevalent, and its distinguishing characteristics were identified, the attitude changed. Law enforcement agencies began to focus on trafficking as a serious crime distinct from prostitution offenses, and victims began to be viewed first and foremost as victims rather than illegal immigrants. As a consequence, a specific trafficking offense was legislated,12 law enforcement authorities began to initiate investigations, victims were encouraged to testify against traffickers, and courts began to detain traffickers until the conclusion of the criminal trial against them and to mete out more severe sentences.
Israel Women Trafficking Soars
Between 3,000 and 5,000 women have been smuggled into Israel in the past four years to work as prostitutes, according to a parliamentary inquiry. The report described how the women are sold at public auctions for as much as $10,000 and forced to work up to 18 hours a day.
Russian Girls Eager To Work Abroad, Despite The Danger Of Sex Trafficking
It is really difficult for such girls to escape when they reach Israel; many of them appeal to the Russian Embassy for help. However, as correspondents of the Novye Izvestia newspaper learnt in Tel-Aviv, people connected with recruiters of sex slaves stand close to the Embassy in wait for fugitives and do not let them escape.
Interior Minister to Expel 15 Prostitutes Who Testified
According to the charge sheet against her procurers, she was sold at a Tel Aviv parking lot to the owner of an escort agency, where she worked without being paid, ostensibly to pay for her travel expenses. The young woman cooperated fully with the police and the prosecution, and provided evidence concerning several suspects. As a result, she has received threats and is scared to return to the Ukraine. She also tried to sue Sholkin in a labor court for not paying her, but withdrew her lawsuit after her family - including her 10-year-old half-brother - was threatened.
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